AMANDA Turnbull knows firsthand what it takes to win the Gold Tiara, but the Bathurst trainer-driver is not quite sure if Now Eye See can join the list of Group 1 winners.
It was in 2015 that Turnbull clinched the coveted prize for two-year-old fillies as she drove Pixies Parlour to success at the Bathurst Paceway.
On Wednesday night she gave herself a chance of emulating that effort when she steered Now Eye See to victory in the second of six 1,730 metres Gold Tiara heats.
The Bettors Delight x Grace Robinson filly swooped to the lead down the home straight, Turnbull’s chance trumping another local runner in Major Occasion from Chris Frisby’s Perthville stables.
With all of the heat winners – as well as the four quickest runners-up – advancing to the decider, Turnbull’s 17th win of the season at Bathurst was an important one.
But whether or not Now Eye See will add another to her tally at next Saturday’s Gold Crown Carnival finals night remains to be seen.
“She’s a bit of a surprise package,” Turnbull said.
“She’s really slow at home, but when I take her to the races she always does really well. I just don’t know how much ability she has hidden in her.”
Going from barrier three, Now Eye See ($2.60 favourite) showed enough gate speed to take the lead in her opening strides.
Major Occasion ($5.40) soon crossed from barrier seven to relieve the favourite of the lead, but it did not worry Turnbull.
“I knew it would probably cross me from having raced it the other night, but she [Now Eye See] got out well,” she said.
Turnbull stayed on the leader’s back through a 28.4 seconds opening quarter, Major Occasion’s driver Anthony Frisby then backing things right off through a 32.2 second split.
There was 1½ lengths between the pair heading into the back straight and though Now Eye See was shuffled back to third by Jive Dancing with 500m to go, it was the local rivals who battled it out.
Turnbull got Now Eye See clear and halfway down the straight she hit the lead. The filly went on to win by 2½ lengths in a 1:58.1 mile rate.
Meanwhile in one of the evening’s other features – the Hondo Grattan Sprint – the Luke McCarthy driven Better Than Max clocked the fastest mile rate seen at the Bathurst track.
In taking out the 1,730m race, Better Than Max clocked a 1:52.7 mile rate. It bettered the previous mark of 1:53.3 jointly held by El Fuego and Parramatta.
The six-year-old son of Artistic Fella got home in a 27.8 seconds split after earlier sectionals of 27.9, 29.5 and 27.8, so it was little wonder McCarthy said “He travelled really well.”
Trained at Medowie by Darren Reay, it was the 18th win of the gelding’s career.